Vanessa Bryant Gets Emotional Honoring Kobe at Basketball Hall of Fame Ceremony
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Kobe Bryant was remembered at the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday. Michael Jordan inducted the late NBA star into the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, couldn't help but get emotional as she delivered a few remarks.
"I used to always avoid praising my husband in public because I felt like he got enough praise from his fans. Along the road someone had to bring him back to reality. Right now I am sure he is laughing in heaven because I'm about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages," Vanessa said. "I can see him now, arms folded, with a huge grin saying, 'Isn't this some sh*t?'"
"I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award. He and Gigi deserve to go here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the basketball Hall of Fame," she continued. "I know he was looking forward to being here. He asked the hall of fame to specifically add a sixth ticket for Capri. He was so happy."
Vanessa then thanked Kobe's family and others who have lent their support.
"I don't have a speech prepared about my husband because he winged every single speech. He was intelligent, eloquent, and gifted at many things, including public speaking. However, I do know that he would thank everyone that helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people that worked against him and told him he couldn't attain his goals. He would thank all of them for motivating him to be here. After all, he proved you wrong," she quipped.
"Kobe had many accomplishments," Vanessa went on, listing his achievements in basketball and more. "His most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad."
Vanessa concluded her speech with a long list of thank yous to her late husband.
"Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for growing and learning from your own mistakes. Thank you for always trying to do better. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for our family. Thank you for our daughters. Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. Thank you for working so tirelessly to provide for us and for giving us the most amazing life together," she said. "Thank you enough to last five times, and every lifetime I choose you."
"To our girls, Natalia and Gianna, thank you for sacrificing so much time away from Daddy so that he could focus on being the best everything he set his mind to. Bianka and Capri, I am so happy you are here to see this tonight. Daddy was incredible. He loves you girls so very much," Vanessa shared.
"Congratulations, Baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices paid off," she said, getting emotional. "You once told me, if you are going to bet on someone, bet on yourself. I'm glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You're in the hall of fame now. You're a true champ. You're not just an MVP. You're an all-time great. I'm so proud of you. I love you forever and always, Kobe Bean Bryant."
Vanessa was surrounded by support at the event in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, and had friend La La Anthony by her side.
Kobe's family made the decision to have Jordan present him with one of basketball's highest honors. Jordan had previously honored Kobe at his memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in February 2020. He spoke about their relationship, noting that Kobe was like a little brother to him.